Looking into the current Dgroups

The DGroups home page today reports that there are 2674 groups, containing 112366 members and 41919 resources.  Last month we downloaded a complete set of statistics from the database, to better understand the story of DGroups and prepare for migration.

Which groups count ?

On 17th September 2008 the count shown on DGroups home page was 2612 groups, of which 1783 were listed in the public DGroups directory.  There were an additional 323 groups marked as “this is a testing workspace”, plus 339 more mailing lists without associated workspaces.   Some of the “test” groups and some of the mailing lists without a workspace appear to be in use.  That makes a total of 3274 groups for us to consider, in order to understand whether and how each should be transferred to the new system.  New groups, created since 17th September will also be included in the migration.

New groups and old

DGroups has grown steadily over the years.  Group members and leaders have different levels of experience with the current system.  We need to take this into account when planning for migration.  Those who are very comfortable with the current system may be reluctant to accept changes, even if introduced with the intention of making things better or easier for new users.

All shapes and sizes

Most dgroups are relatively small (median 15 members, average 66 members) but there are 34 groups with more than 1000 members and the largest group has nearly 12,000 members.   The migration team will be communicating with leaders of all groups over the coming weeks, to better understand their needs and to offer appropriate support as they prepare for the changes ahead.

Parlez-vous DGroups?

DGroups hosts groups in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.  Most groups, members and messages are in English.  30% of all messages sent in the past 12 months were on the Spanish language groups.

Groups and Partner Organisations

The DGroups Partnership has 26 members and every group hosted by DGroups is supported by one of those Partner organisations.  Partners share the costs of running DGroups and assure it is used appropriately.  Some Partners have many groups, other Partners have few.  Bellanet, which originally created many of the current dgroups, has now closed and the remaining Partner organisations are working to ensure that all of groups formerly supported by Bellanet can continue to use DGroups, if they wish to.

Which Groups are Active?

So, how many of the current dgroups are active?  We have noted that some groups marked “test” have many members and many messages.  There are also groups with few members and which have had no messages posted for over 12 months.  The DGroups Migration Team is now working with each of the Partner organisations to identify which groups are active.  Groups which are inactive but which have important historical content (records of messages posted, resources shared) can also be moved to the new platform so that their history is preserved.

Mark Hammersley

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